Internal disciplinary processes are under way against South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members caught smoking at the funeral of Andrew Mlangeni on Wednesday, according to Police Minister Bheki Cele.
At a media briefing on Friday, Cele also referred to the police’s investigation into the ANC’s event held to mark the arrival of Mlangeni’s body at his family’s home in Dube on Tuesday.
“The question about Andrew Mlangeni’s funeral is under investigation. There are people who have been asked by the police and as the investigation is finalised the docket will be taken to the [National Prosecuting Authority] for a decision.
“But the soldiers that you saw, already speaking to the minister of defence yesterday, has told me that the internal disciplines have been taken against the soldiers that were smoking there,” Cele said.
Three soldiers were caught on camera standing closely together, lighting cigarettes and smoking during Mlangeni’s funeral on Wednesday.
Cele clarified that, while smoking is not a crime, the sale of cigarettes is a crime.
“This thing of smoking and receipts keeps coming up.
“We have arrested a lot of people already, if I’m not mistaken, we have [seized] cigarettes of about 1.8 million,” Cele said.
He said that should someone be caught smoking in public, “we would love to know where you found the cigarette”.
If the sale of cigarettes is banned, so is the purchasing – but smoking is not banned, Cele added.